- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 4, 2009


Cook County Commissioner Mike Quigley has bested a field of 11 other Democrats in a special primary election to fill the seat of former Rep. Rahm Emanuel, who left Congress to become President Barack Obama’s chief of staff.

Mr. Quigley, a Cook County commissioner since 1998, campaigned as a reformer and fiscal watchdog in the heavily Democratic district.

With 98 percent of precincts reporting, Mr. Quigley had 11,814 votes, or 22.2 percent.

The Democratic nominee is the immediate favorite in the April 7 special election to finish the two-year term Mr. Emanuel won in November.

On the Republican side, Rosanna Pulido, director of the Illinois Minuteman Project, wrested the Republican nomination from five rivals. The Green Party leader was Mathew Reichel, who is trying to beat four others.

Voter turnout was low at 17 percent.

“It’s always low in a special primary,” said Jim Allen, a spokesman for the Chicago Board of Elections. “There’s a short amount of time to get to know the candidates. There’s not as much enthusiasm or knowledge as you’d have with a presidential or gubernatorial election, where there are months of buildup or scrutiny.”

Mr. Emanuel was first elected to Congress in 2002. The largely white district stretches from Chicago’s wealthy North Side lakefront to ethnic enclaves on the northwest side and neighboring Cook County suburbs. It’s the same seat once held by ousted Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich and former House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dan Rostenkowski.

Whoever wins, candidates are counting on having some advantage in Washington - although not seniority - coming from Mr. Emanuel’s old district in the home city of the president.

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